Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 


Strong Public Support For Local Govt Infrastructure Focus


Strong Public Support For Local Government Infrastructure Focus

NZCID Media Statement
Embargoed until 6am 21 November, 2012

Eight out of 10 New Zealanders think councils have lost focus on what is important and need to refocus on core public services, infrastructure and regulation, according to a recent Horizon Research report.

The survey of 956 New Zealanders was commissioned by the New Zealand Council for Infrastructure Development to test public attitudes to local government and the provision of infrastructure services. Weighted to represent the national population the survey has a maximum margin of error of +/- 3.2 per cent overall.

"The research reveals considerable support for the Government’s proposed change to the purpose of local government", said Stephen Selwood CEO of NZCID.

56 per cent of New Zealanders support the purpose of local government being changed to 'providing good quality local infrastructure, local public services and performance of regulatory functions in a way that is most cost-effective for households and business'.

Contrary to the unanimous view of Councils across the country that the purpose of local government to promote the "four well beings" should remain unchanged, less than 20 per cent of respondents supported this view.

Respondents clearly believe that councils need to refocus. 80% agreed that it was necessary, with 24% strongly agreeing. On the other hand, a majority, 59%, believe that providing for the four well beings does reflect the needs of residents. This suggests that respondents hold a view that councils moved too far in pursuit of the well beings following the change of the Local Government Act in 2002.

This result is consistent with other findings and comments by respondents throughout the report which show quite a strong degree of frustration that councils are not doing what residents want. For example, while some councils across the country are increasing rates to meet increasing community demands for non-core services just 7 per cent of those surveyed supported this approach. Over half of respondents want a reduction in rates, even if it means a reduction in services.

When this finding is viewed in the context of public understanding of what local government does, a picture emerges of local representation which is not in touch with communities and communities that just don't understand or fully value what councils do. While four out of five respondents said that they could name their local Mayor, just one third knew who their local councillor was and only a quarter describe their understanding of council policies as “good” or “strong”.

This indicates a need for councils to find new ways of connecting with residents to determine the issues that matter and that existing consultative processes may not be as effective as direct community workshops, online surveys and other means of communication.

This is exactly what the Royal Commission found in its pre-amalgamation assessment of Auckland governance. It is therefore of some concern that Auckland-based respondents still rated their council’s services and cost control more negatively than elsewhere. The survey sends a clear signal to the Auckland Council that it needs to improve its interaction with communities and that it may not yet be leveraging the full value that local boards bring from a community engagement perspective.

When polled on whether the Auckland Council model should be extended to other regions, there was not surprisingly a mixed response. Respondents acknowledged a large number of benefits from a more provincial approach to local government, including improved economic development, stronger influence with central government, and better overall value for money. But concerns about potential loss of community focus and local identity led to a fairly even three way split between those for, against and neutral on amalgamating councils.

"It is clear that any move towards amalgamation like that now being considered for Wellington must provide for stronger local community engagement, better provision of infrastructure services as well as improved value for money through better organisational effectiveness if it is to receive popular support", Selwood says.

To view the Horizon summary report click here.

To download the full report click here.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Greens: Russel Norman To Stand Down As Co-Leader

Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman has announced today that he will stand down as leader at the party’s Annual General Meeting in May. Dr Norman will remain as Co-leader and retain his finance and climate change portfolios until the AGM.

“After nearly a decade as Co-leader, now is a good time to find a new challenge for myself, and to spend more time with my family” said Dr Norman.

“This is my ninth year as Co-leader and I think it’s time for a change. Now is a good time for new leadership for the Party. My replacement will start from a strengthened base and will have a full parliamentary term to establish himself in the role and take the Greens into government in 2017." More>>

 

Gordon Campbell: On The Eleanor Catton Rumpus

If anyone was in doubt about the accuracy of the comments made in India by Eleanor Catton, the reaction from some quarters here at home has gone a long way to proving her point… More>>

ALSO:

More Rent Assistance, Less State-Owned Housing: John Key Speech - Next Steps In Social Housing

"We are going to ensure that more people get into social housing over the next three years, whether that is run by Housing New Zealand or a community provider. The social housing budget provides for around 62,000 income-related rent subsidies a year. We are committed to increasing that to around 65,000 subsidies by 2017/18, which will cost an extra $40 million a year." More>>

ALSO:

The Future Of Work: Andrew Little - State Of The Nation 2015

In 2005 when I led the EPMU we worked together with Air New Zealand to find a way to keep engineering jobs that were heading overseas. A lot of these workers were people I’d known for years and they were facing not just losing their jobs but not being able to find the kind of work they do without going overseas. A lot of people were facing personal and financial upheaval.... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Sabin Case, The Pressures On Greece And (Songs About) Coyotes

Mike Sabin is a National MP, and the current chairman of Parliament’s law and order committee. Yet reportedly, he is being investigated by the Police over an assault complaint... However, the PM will not comment on any aspect of the story. More>>

ALSO:

Houses, ISIS, King (& Catton): PM Post-Cabinet Press Conference

The Prime Minister met with reporters to discuss: • Social housing, the Auckland housing market • The prospect of joining international forces to combat ISIS • David Bain’s compensation • The lowering of the flag for the King of Saudi Arabia's death ... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Tomorrow’s Speeches By John Key And Andrew Little

The Key government has already kicked off the political year on a stridently ideological note, with Environment Minister Nick Smith choosing to lay all manner of sins at the door of the RMA. Tomorrow, the government will wheeling out its best salesman – Prime Minister John Key – to sell its plans for state housing… . More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news